The 25th anniversary Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) from Quest Diagnostics has revealed overall drug use among American workers declined 74 percent over the past 25 years but positive drug tests for drugs such as amphetamines and prescription opiates has risen dramatically. For more information about the study – released to coincide with the passage of the Drug-Free Workplace Act 25 years ago today on November 18 – visit

The Drug Testing Index analysis examined more than 125 million urine drug tests performed by Quest Diagnostics laboratories across the United States between 1988 and 2012. The testing identifies 20 commonly abused drugs – including marijuana, opiates, and cocaine – and examines positive test rates for a comprehensive analysis of workplace drug-use trends among three major testing populations:

  • Federally Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workers.
  • General U.S. Workforce.
  • Combined U.S. Workforce.

Key findings from the Drug Testing Index analysis include:

  • The positive test rate for the combined U.S. Workforce declined 74 percent from 13.6 percent in 1988 to 3.5 percent in 2012.
  • The positive test rate for the Federally Mandated, Safety Sensitive Workforce declined by 38 percent, from 2.6 percent in 1992 to 1.6 percent in 2012.
  • The positive test rate for the U.S. General Workforce declined by 60 percent, from 10.3 percent in 1992 to 4.1 percent in 2012.

However, despite the decline in overall drug use the DTI analysis also found positive test rates for certain drugs increased:

  • Positive test rates for amphetamines including amphetamine and methamphetamine nearly tripled – 196 percent higher – in the combined U.S. workforce and were at the highest level since 1997 in in 2012. The positivity rate for amphetamine itself, including prescription medications such as Adderall®, has more than doubled in the last 10 years.
  • Positive test rates for prescription opiates – including the drugs hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone – have also increased steadily over the last decade, more than doubling for hydrocodone and hydromorphone and up 71 percent for oxycodone.

The Drug Testing Index from Quest Diagnostics, leading provider of diagnostic information services, is published as a public service for government, media and industry and is considered a benchmark for national trends.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’ – in a nationwide accredited background screening firm that also helps small- and medium-sized businesses conduct pre-employment drug testing quickly, easily, and inexpensively before hiring new employees. For more information, call Toll Free 888.999.4474 or visit


About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit or call toll free 888.999.4474.

About ESR News:  The Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at [email protected]. To subscribe to the ESR News Blog Feed, visit To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit


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